Stolen truck, multi-county high speed pursuit
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy’s sharp eye resulted in the arrest of a Billings man and the recovery of a stolen vehicle following a high speed chase that spanned two counties last Sunday.
Jericho Baudelio Nava, 20, was arrested Nov. 27 on multiple charges including four felony and numerous misdemeanor charges, nearly all of which stem from the pursuit. He is being held at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility with bail set at $75,000.
The pursuit began shortly after 2 p.m. when an off-duty Stillwater County Reserve Deputy Jared Delaney saw a stolen silver Ford F-150 truck in Park City and followed it to Laurel, according to Stillwater County Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Smith. The truck had been stolen in Billings.
A Laurel Police officer initiated a high-risk traffic stop on the 400 block of Cedar Avenue and ordered Nava to get out of the truck three times to no avail. Nava fled in the truck.
After driving back roads around Laurel at high speeds, Nava headed west towards Columbus. Columbus Police Officer Gary Timm located Nava headed west on Highway 10. At approximately mile marker 415, Nava allegedly drove from Highway 10 to I-90, crashing through fences on the way.
Nava then headed back towards Laurel, traveling east in the westbound lane. At that point, deputies, Columbus police and the Montana Highway Patrol were involved in the pursuit, said Smith. Due to heavy traffic, Smith and MHP Trooper Shane Warehime positioned themselves ahead of the chase in order to clear traffic.
Nava exited and then re-entered at Park City and again crossed I-90, still traveling east in the westbound lane. By this time, Laurel police had rejoined the chase. Nava exited the wrong way at West Laurel, going down Main Street and through a stop light.
The pursuit continued into Billings with Stillwater County ceasing at King Avenue and 32nd Street “due to Nava’s behavior,” said Smith. Billings police located the truck and arrested Nava. Speeds topped 110 mph during the chase, said Smith.
The truck was brought back to Columbus and taken to the sheriff’s evidence garage as a search warrant is sought, said Smith.
Laurel police have charged Nava with three counts of felony criminal endangerment, eluding a police officer, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving. Smith said similar charges will be filed in Stillwater County as well.
RASH OF VEHICLE THEFTS/RECOVERIES
During the last three weeks, there have been at least five vehicles stolen from Yellowstone County and recovered in Stillwater County. Three of those involved pursuits, said Stillwater County Undersheriff Chip Kem. There has also been one vehicle theft committed locally – A black Dodge pickup truck that was stolen Nov. 22 from the Park City Car & Truck Stop and later found in Yellowstone County.
On Monday, Nov. 28, Rapelje resident Kristopher Sean Bennett was arrested on a felony contempt warrant from Yellowstone County and was found in a red Chevy Colorado truck that was stolen in Billings last week.
Undersheriff Kem urges citizens to keep their vehicles locked and keys out of sight. Kem also cautions against leaving a vehicle running, despite the arrival of colder weather. Any suspicious activity should be reported to police immediately.